Mikhail Zoshchenko

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Zoshchenko, Mikhail Mikhailovich


Born July 29 (Aug. 10), 1895, in St. Petersburg; died July 22, 1958, in Leningrad. Soviet Russian satirical writer.

While a student in the law department of the University of St. Petersburg, Zoshchenko left for the front as a volunteer in World War I. He was wounded and demobilized with the rank of captain second grade. In 1918 he joined the Red Army as a volunteer. Zoshchenko began to appear in print in 1922. He belonged to the literary group known as the Serapion Brethren. His first book, Stones of Nazar IVich, Mr. Sine-briukhov (1922), and the stories that followed it brought the author wide fame. In each of these stories, a tale is told by a hero-narrator about petit bourgeois people attempting to feel comfortable in new conditions, confident that the revolution had occurred to provide them with a trouble-free existence. Zoshchenko often contrasts the foolishness, coarseness, and egotism of his “heroes” with dreams about the pure amicability and spiritual delicacy that will govern relations between people in the future (for example, his stories The Sorrows of Werther, 1933, and The Lights of the Big City, 1936).

Topical satires occupy a significant place in Zoshchenko’s creative work: in them the writer directly comments on contemporary events. He also wrote longer works differing in genre and manner of narration: the novellas Mishel’ Siniagin (1930), Restored Youth (1933), The Blue Book (1934), Kerensky (1937), and Taras Shevchenko (1939) and the satirical plays The Canvas Briefcase (1939) and Let the Unfortunate Cry (1946). Some of Zoshchenko’s works (among them, the novella Before Sunrise, 1943) were sharply criticized in the press. He translated the Finnish author Maiju Lassila’s novellas For Matches and Born Twice. His books have been reprinted many times and frequently translated into foreign languages. Zoshchenko was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and several medals.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1929–31.
Izbrannye rasskazy i povesti, 1923–1956. Leningrad, 1956.
Rasskazy, fel’etony, komedii: Neizdannye proizvedeniia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
Izbr. proizv., vols. 1–2. Leningrad, 1968. (With a preface by P. Gromov.)


Mikhail Zoshchenko: Stat’ii materialy. Leningrad, 1928. (Articles by V. Shklovskii, A. Barmin, V. Vinogradov, and others.)
Fedin, K. “Mikhail Zoshchenko.” In Pisatel’, iskusstvo i vremia. Moscow, 1961.
“M. Gor’kii i sovetskie pisateli: Neizd. perepiska.” In Literaturnoe nasledstvo, vol. 70. Moscow, 1963.
Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Bio-bibliograficheskii ukazatel’, vol. 2. Leningrad, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
5) Perhaps the Soviet writer Mikhail Zoshchenko may serve as a clear example of this trend.
The other two VP-BJX and VP-BEW got the names of famous writers Ivan Goncharov and Mikhail Zoshchenko respectively.
From Japanese writer and playwright Kobo Abe to Russian satirist Mikhail Zoshchenko, this four-volume reference work contains some 500 alphabetical entries, each focused on a particular world literary figure, that are designed to provide students with a comprehensive view of how an author's work fits within the context of the author's life, historical events, and the literary world.
A few translations appeared of crudely humorous pieces by contemporary Soviet writers such as Mikhail Zoshchenko, of which the only point can have been to exhibit solidarity with the Soviet ally.
Wat lends a chummy atmosphere to gatherings at Shklovsky's apartment, where the great director Sergei Eisenstein and the humorist Mikhail Zoshchenko were among the guests:
Russian critics have discerned the influence of Mikhail Zoshchenko and Anton Chekhov on Berberova's Billancourt stories.
The extent to which Fadeyev was responsible for the purges of writers and artists in the 1930s and '40s has not been ascertained, but he zealously supported the cultural purge of 1946-1948, personally attacking Boris Pasternak and Mikhail Zoshchenko.
In The Pragmatics of Insignificance, Cathy Popkin explores the fiction of Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Zoshchenko, and Nikolai Gogol in an effort to reveal their motives for obfuscating conventional notions of plot and narrative to produce instead texts swollen with intentionally superfluous detail.
For more on the charges against Zoshchenko's story, see Gregory Carlton, The Politics of Reception: Cultural Constructions of Mikhail Zoshchenko (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1998).
The work has been seen as a piece of social criticism with, at its centre, one of the littlest of all the 'little men' who have been a dominant feature of Russian literature from Pushkin's Evgenii in The Bronze Horseman to the stories of Mikhail Zoshchenko and Daniil Kharms in the twentieth century.
It was directed against two literary magazines, Zvezda and Leningrad, which had published supposedly apolitical, bourgeois, individualistic works of the satirist Mikhail Zoshchenko and the poet Anna Akhmatova, who were expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers.
The reader is well acquainted with the material presented in the volume, including "communal apartments" in the Soviet Union, from the writings of Mikhail Zoshchenko as well as of other Soviet writers, and also from the media.